As The Walking Dead inches closer to its mid-season finale, things are slowing down a bit in episode 6. As if things weren’t going annoyingly slow anyway. “The King, The Widow, and Rick” (or as I’ve dubbed it “Stupid Shit We Did on the Way to Finishing the Saviors Off”) takes a breather, as most episodes about this time in the season tend to do, and ultimately produces one of the most groan-worthy episodes in recent memory. Stupid decisions, the incessant argument over morals that has been a nagging pain in the neck this season, and the overall dragging out of the over-encompassing narrative of this season all contribute to making this episode pretty “meh”. We did get to see someone get blown up with an RPG, though, so that’s pretty neat.
*Episode Spoilers Ahead*
“The King, The Widow, and Rick” (why doesn’t Rick get a cool code name?) works as a resting point of sorts after the previous five episodes of season 8. Imagining that the two final episodes of this half of the season will be more focused on the overall plot, a resting point seems about right for the series, based on other seasons. It’s just annoying at this point because this season hasn’t done much to propel the story forward at all thus far, and has been dragging out week after week. Sure, we got some fairly great character driven episodes this season, but since the season premiere, nothing has really happened. This episode featured a more spread out story, and we even got to hang with Rosita and Michonne, who have done absolutely nothing so far this season.
Michonne is ready to get out and do something following her injuries last season, but before she can leave, she is joined by the also recovering Rosita. Michonne just “needed to see” the Sanctuary after hearing about how it is surrounded by walkers, so off the pair goes. While driving along, music can be heard rather loudly, and the ladies decide to check it out. Turns out, it’s an abandoned building being used as a weapons/supplies cache for none of than the Saviors, and two of them who were out scavenging during the attack on the Sanctuary are working on a plan to get rid of the walkers that surround their home: loading a truck bed up with tons of speakers and blasting opera music hoping it will lure them away. After failing at sneaking about, a small gunfight between Michonne and Rosita and the two Saviors inside ensues. Rosita eventually finds an RPG and blows one of the Saviors to smithereens, while the other gets away with the speaker-loaded vehicle. Fortunately, Daryl and Tara arrive on the scene after deciding to squad up and take matters into their own hands earlier in the episode, smashing into the Mad Max: Fury Road speaker vehicle with a garbage truck. The team decides to all link up and take Michonne to see the Sanctuary, with Daryl mentioning they are finally going to end this themselves.
Daryl is really bothering me lately. It’s almost as if he has learned nothing from his experiences, having spent the majority of last season feeling guilty over him causing Glenn’s death accidentally. At this point, it’s hard to understand why he is causing such a ruckus over wanting to break from the plan and do things his way. He’s been shown first hand that lashing out and going against what he should be doing does not end well, so why is he so adamantly defying the plan this go around, especially considering there is MUCH more at stake than just Glenn’s life, like, you know, three full communities of people? This is a problem that can be attributed to many characters this season. It’s becoming glaring, and annoying, even though making dumb decisions is not anything new to The Walking Dead.
Speaking of dumb decisions, as we saw last week, Rick decided to visit Jadis and the trash people again. Well, this week, we actually see his arrival. Jadis and some other trash folk were just hanging out, doing some metal sculpting wearing nothing but an apron, and Rick comes along. Rick decides he needs to give Jadis and crew one last chance to turn on the Saviors, after showing her pictures of what they have done to their outposts and the Sanctuary. In true Jadis, fashion, she doesn’t agree and throws Rick into a shipping container, where he must wait to be saved. Butt naked. Again, I don’t understand the bad decisions being made by people on this show lately. The trash people have already proven they can’t be trusted when it comes down to it. I get that morality is a huge recurring theme this season, and Rick probably just wants to give them just one final chance, but the schtick is wearing thin at this point in the show.
We visited Hilltop this episode, with the revelation that Jesus’ Savior prisoners have been kept outside the walls. Maggie doesn’t exactly trust them, and Gregory feels the same way. But once it was made clear that Gregory felt that having these prisoners around wasn’t smart, Maggie changed her mind and decided to build a makeshift cell for them. Out of wood. And barbed wire. It essentially amounts to a Savior petting zoo. Yet another boneheaded decision, and it’s just one episode! It’s frustrating that Maggie seemed to make this decision simply because she didn’t want to agree with Gregory, as we know she’s smarter than that.
Carl was featured for a brief bit, in a bit of a throwback to a storyline planted in the first episode of this season. Carl returned to the area in which he left a small amount of supplies for the character Rick scared off from scavenging, and found the survivor again. The character’s name is Saddiq, and Carl decided to invite him into their community after asking him “the questions”. Saddiq is interesting, and I hope they are building towards a full-time character, because I’ve had enough of these one-off guys who just get killed as soon as they are introduced. Saddiq remembers almost exactly how many walker’s he has killed, as he does it to honor his mother; she believed destroying the walkers was a way to let their souls be free. Saddiq and Carl were attacked by a small group of walkers, and Carl was actually almost killed – all because he was trying to be the good guy and help Saddiq honor his mother. I’m not entirely sure where this story is going, and I’m not quite sure yet if this was a dumb decision, but we will see. Taking Carl’s track record into consideration, I’m inclined to believe it is the latter.
Finally, Carol was given some screen time following her outing with Ezekiel two episodes ago. She wasn’t given much to do besides allowing a CHILD to follow her into the woods to look for Saviors, just because he wanted to avenge his brother’s death (dumb decision, again). Carol also spent some time trying to break Ezekiel out of his funk to no avail. He is still wallowing over the death of Shiva, and even Carol couldn’t convince him to be the king the people need. Yet.
“The King, The Widow, and Rick” served its purpose by being a resting point before the final two episodes of this half of the season. While it progressed the story a bit, it didn’t do so in ways that mattered, and this season still feels like it is moving at a snail’s pace. After two great episodes, this episode was a significant step back, but it’s something we’ve come accustomed to with The Walking Dead – dumb decisions and all.